June 24, 2017

Male Menopause – Is it Real?

The existence and validity of male menopause is a heavily debated subject among medical professionals.  Some claim that male menopause is real and that men need to receive medical treatment for their lowering testosterone levels while others claim that male menopause is a misnomer and that the decreasing testosterone levels are simply a natural part of aging.

Male menopause can also be referred to as Man-opause, Andropause, and its more scientifically acceptable name of late-onset hypogonadism.  Some experts claim that only about 2% of the American population goes through male menopause while others assert that number to be as high as 30%.

While many experts are reluctant to name male menopause as a legitimate illness or disorder, most will admit that there are some common symptoms that lend a bit of credence to the existence of some form of male menopause.

Female Menopause versus Male Menopause

Some doctors are reluctant to acknowledge the existence of male menopause due to the imprecise nature of the term in regards to describing male symptoms.  Women completely lose the ability to procreate during menopause while men maintain that ability into their 80s.  Men may, however, experience symptoms similar to those experienced by women who are experiencing menopause.

Symptoms of Male Menopause

 

  • A decrease in sexual activity and an increase in erectile dysfunction may be signs of male menopause.
  • Increased difficulty in exercising, long-distance walking, and bending over may signify male menopause.
  • Low energy, low spirits, and low energy levels are symptoms of male menopause.
  • Similar physical symptoms of female menopause such as hot flashes, night sweats, and body aches are also common in male menopause.
  • Psychological symptoms similar to those of female menopause such as mood swings, depression, and lethargy may also indicate male menopause.

Causes of Male Menopause

 

  • Decreasing testosterone levels are the primary cause of male menopause.
  • Aging is also a large factor in male menopause.
  • Male Menopause can be triggered by depression, obesity, and general ill health.
  • Autoimmune diseases can lower testosterone levels, causing male menopause.

Risk Factors for Male Menopause

 

  • Being a male over the age of 50 increases the risk of contracting male menopause.
  • Suffering from Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and cancer can increase the likelihood of getting male menopause.
  • General poor health in regards to weight and diet can increase the risk for male menopause.

Treatments for Male Menopause

Testoterone Therapy

Testosterone therapy has increased by 400% in the United States since 1999, but doctors disagree about its usefulness and safety in regards to male menopause treatment.  Critics claim that this hormone therapy is overused and potentially harmful to men, while proponents argue that testosterone therapy helps alleviate the symptoms of male menopause.

Doctors are not even in agreement in regards to hormone therapy for female menopause, during which women entirely lose the ability to reproduce.  Males maintain the ability to produce at least some sperm into their eighties, so some doctors argue that males never experience true menopause and thus do not need to be treated in the same manner as women are treated.

In spite of these warnings and doubts, however, many physicians maintain that testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is safe and many men who have undergone TRT report positive results.

While every man is going to react to testosterone replacement therapy differently, men who take testosterone supplements often report improvements in their sex lives and their general moods.  Testosterone may also help increase muscle mass and bone density, so TRT is beneficial in those regards as well.

Some men experience minor rashes, itches, and skin irritations during testosterone therapy, and men with prostate cancer, sleep apnea, benign prostatic hypertrophy, congestive heart failure, and erythrocytosis should avoid testosterone replacement therapy due to the medical risks to their conditions.

Testosterone replacement therapy can be conducted via skin and mouth patches, injections, gels, and pills, although many doctors believe that testosterone pills can harm the liver.

Lifestyle Changes

Experts who are skeptical of testosterone replacement therapy often want men with male menopause symptoms to consider lifestyle and diet modifications rather than TRT.

Those with low testosterone may benefit from eating more healthy, low fat foods and drinking sufficient amounts of water in order to improve their sexual drives and moods.  Exercising is also beneficial as this increases heart health and blood flow and also helps produce chemicals in the brain that boost people’s moods.  Alcohol, cigarettes, and other unhealthy things are also bad for those with low testosterone levels, as is high stress.  Doctors also recommend reducing stress via meditation, spirituality, and counseling.

Depression Treatment

Other doctors believe that decreasing sexual performance may be linked to depression, meaning that treating men for depression will help alleviate some of the symptoms of male menopause.  Those with low testosterone should consult their physicians about a depression diagnosis so they can receive proper treatment for a specific type of depression that may be contributing to their ongoing male menopause.

Depending on the type of depression and the severity of the case, doctors may prescribe antidepressants, psychotherapy, or simply talking honestly with friends and loved ones.

Overcoming the Stigma of Male MenopauseMan with Depression

Some men are reluctant to seek treatment for their male menopause symptoms because they find the idea of disclosing such sensitive information to their physicians to be embarrassing and shameful.  Male menopause symptoms can be signs of other, more serious health problems that could worsen if not addressed.

Decreasing testosterone is a natural part of aging, and numerous men experience sexual and emotional side effects produced by decreasing testosterone levels.  Men need not broadcast their problems to everyone of their acquaintance, and physicians are bound by law to keep such sensitive information confidential.  Addressing male menopause symptoms rather than ignoring them may lead to treatment and, perhaps, the discovery of more serious health issues.

Men who are unsure of which questions they should ask their physicians should remember to address such issues as the benefits and risks of testosterone replacement therapy, the risks and lengths of such treatments, and the possible side effects of TRT.

If men are concerned about taking testosterone replacement therapy, they should ask about alternative treatments and possible diet changes before taking testosterone replacements.  Men should also be completely honest and open with their doctors so that their physicians will have a better chance of diagnosing a disease or disorder other than male menopause.

 

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